View from the Foothills of France

Some personal views on living, working,
bringing up family and making the dream happen in the most beautiful region of France. View from the Foothills of France also includes some personal and professional thoughts and tips on finding and buying the perfect property in the Ariège and Haute Garonne regions.



Buying and running a gîte in France

Owning and running a gîte in France is a dream for many people whether that be as a full-time business or as an additional economic activity to top up a pension or another income stream while enjoying a new life abroad. It can also be a great investment and lifestyle choice. However, it is important to be aware of the visas required, income expectations, and potential challenges that come with this type of business especially if you are moving to France from outside of the EU (which also includes Brits now of course since Brexit.)

If you are not a citizen of an EU member state, you will need to obtain a long-stay visa, also known as a “visa de long séjour,” before you arrive in the country in order to stay in France for more than 90 days. There are several different types of long-stay visas, including those for family reunification, work, and self-employment. If you are moving to France to run a gîte, you will need an entrepreneur visa which is designed for people who wish to start a business in France. This type of visa requires proof of financial stability, a business plan, and relevant skills or experience. It is important to consult with a French consulate or embassy in your home country to determine the specific requirements and process for obtaining a visa.

Once you have obtained your entrepreneur visa, you will be allowed to reside in France for up to four years and work on building your business. After this initial period, you may be eligible to apply for a renewable residency permit, provided that your business has been successful and you have contributed to the French economy.

The income potential for running a gîte in France can vary greatly depending on location, seasonality, and marketing efforts. It is important to do thorough research into the market demand and competition in the area you are interested in. It is also important to consider the costs associated with running a gîte, such as property maintenance, taxes, insurance, and marketing. Many gîte owners choose to work with a property management company to handle bookings, cleaning, and guest communication, which can help alleviate some of the workload and stress of managing a rental property.

Is it a good idea?
Owning and running a gîte in France can be a fulfilling and profitable but, as with any business, is important to carefully consider the associated costs and challenges before making a decision. It is also important to have a clear understanding of the cultural and legal differences between your home country and France, as well as the language barriers that may exist. In addition, it is important to do thorough research, obtain the necessary visas, and have a clear business plan before embarking on this journey. With proper planning and execution, a gîte can be a wonderful way to live and work in France while sharing the country’s rich culture and history with visitors from around the world.

If you need help in finding the perfect property in France, please get in touch:

French village life

I am very lucky to have had lots of fantastic clients over the last 15 years of running this business, many of whom keep in touch. I love to hear how their life in France has evolved, the work they have done on their house, the adventures they have had, their favourite walks, restaurants and places to visit and how their lives have changed since buying their French house.

This week I had such a lovely message from a past client who is just getting to know the other people in her village and wanted to let me know what a great and eclectic bunch of neighbours they have met, ranging from former flight crew to a musician to a Chinese doctor to name but a few. This perfectly encapsulates the wonderful mix of people we find in this part of France; city escapees, foreigners, locals who were born here and young couples and families reassessing priorities and seeking out a calmer, more grounded and rural lifestyle in beautiful surroundings but still with easy access to the culture and buzz of the big smoke (Toulouse).

It makes me realize yet again how lucky we are to have landed in such a special part of the world where so many people dream of living but only the more adventurous (or slightly crazy) actually make the jump. The result is villages and communes peopled with a wonderful jumble of people, nationalities, professions, and cultures all with one thing in common, the love of the good life that rural France can provide.

If you need help finding the perfect house for you in France, please get in touch:

Why buy property in France?

France is known for its rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and quality of life but it also offers a range of benefits for those looking to buy a property. Below (not in any particular order) are the most important factors that my clients tell me led to their decision to buy a house in France:

Better Quality of Life
France is renowned for its high standard of living. From its delicious cuisine to its beautiful landscapes, France offers a quality of life that is hard to match; it is a great place to call home.

France has easy access, excellent travel routes, well-maintained infrastructure and numerous airports, hence it is both easy to get to and a great location for travelling to the rest of Europe.

France offers a variety of climates, from the warm Mediterranean climate in the south to the cooler temperatures in the north and a continental climate to the east. This allows for weather that will suit most people.

Affordable property prices
Compared to many other countries, property prices in France are relatively affordable. This makes it a great option for those looking to buy a house who are priced out of other property markets around the world.

Strong rental market
France has a strong rental market, which makes it an attractive option for those looking to rent out a property to help pay for running costs. With a large number of tourists visiting France each year, the demand for rental properties is high, making it a great investment opportunity.

Stable economy
France has a stable economy, with a strong banking system and an excellent healthcare and social security structure. This makes it a secure option for those looking to invest in property or move permanently to France.

Cultural and historical significance
France is home to a rich cultural and historical heritage, with numerous castles, churches, and museum making it an ideal place for those who love to explore.

Gastronomic excellence
Wherever you choose to be in France, you are likely to find excellent food and wine and lovely places to eat with a focus on local and seasonal produce and weekly markets in nearly every town.

So whether you’re looking to invest in property, or simply want to live in a beautiful and culturally rich country, you are likely to find what you are looking for in France

If you would like help with your property search, please get in touch:

French property prices – how much to pay for the perfect French property

In France, it is always difficult to get an accurate picture of property prices, particularly across the South West France region which is so diverse.

Firstly, you are likely to see a property advertised at different prices by numerous different agencies. Secondly, particularly in rural France, it is difficult to compare the price to similar properties sold locally as most properties are very different from each other and they also do not change hands very often. Thirdly, there is no set formula for valuing property in France; some agents value purely on the square meterage of the house or the number of bedrooms, others on the average price for property in the region.

Hence it is very tricky, particularly as a foreigner, to get an accurate picture of property prices in the area you are looking and whether the type of property you are looking for is indeed within your budget and whether you are paying the right price.

So how do you work out what price you will need to pay and whether it is a good price?

Well firstly, make sure you look at lots of houses advertised online in the same area and get a feel for prices and what you can get for your budget. Research is the key initially to get an idea of local property prices.

Secondly view a number of houses and, if you love one, go back and view it a second time and ask lots of questions.

Thirdly, if you view a house that ticks most of your search criteria boxes, this property is most likely worth your budget, especially if a large part of your motivation in buying in France is a lifestyle choice. You will know if a house is going to offer the quality of life you are looking for and this is hard to put a price on.

Fourthly, how much work does it need to make it into the home you are looking for? Get an idea of how much you think you will need to spend on it and add it to the asking price and then decide if it matches your budget.

Finally, it is a cliché but a true one that the location is the most important element in assessing the price. If the house is in a good location, one that is always in demand, if it has good views and good access, near mountains or coast and near a good size and nice town or city, then it will generally be worth what you pay for it because there will always be someone else who wants this same location.

Above all, if you love the house the minute you walk in – in other words if it has that something special, that wow factor (whatever that happens to be) and it is within your budget, then it is most likely worth the price. No matter what the research says, no matter how much you have studied the market, it is impossible to put a value on what a house means to you. If you know the house is right for you, that feeling is priceless so don’t ignore it.

If you would like help with your property search, please get in touch: